I was at a house party when a guy who had once been like family to me tried to sexually assault me. We were spooning in bed, fully-clothed and just talking about our lives, when he slips his hand under my top. At first I think it’s a joke, and I laugh and ask him what he’s doing. He says he’s cold, he just wants to touch my skin because its warm. We keep talking, and his hand slowly starts to move up towards my bra. I now have my hand on his arm, trying to move it away, asking him again what he’s doing. He shushes me and says it’s okay. At this point I am panicking and I freeze – I can’t move his arm away, he’s too strong, and I have no idea what to do. I feel like my throat has closed up with fear, and even though there are people in the next room, I can’t say a word. At that moment, one of our friends walks in, and his grip loosens just enough for me to move his arm and put some distance between us. My friend asks us what is going on, and I laugh it off. It was nothing, right?
It was only during the next week that I realised I was not okay, and couldn’t stand being in the same room as him. I told a friend, and of course it got back to him. He told them that nothing had happened, that I wanted it, that I was jealous and upset that he hadn’t had sex with me. He took me aside at another party, where I had been trying to avoid him, and told me to stop spreading lies, that I wasn’t his type and he was sorry about it. My friends kicked him out of the party, and I haven’t seen him since.
Even typing this out now, four years later, I still feel ashamed. Nothing happened, so it’s fine, right? But if it was fine, why do I still feel like this – guilty, embarrassed, humiliated? I wanted to speak about my experience during the #metoo movement, but I just didn’t feel able to. It could have been so, so much worse. Yet I still feel violated.